When food rhymes with Twitter: from waste to diets, food trends on social networks

Greta teaches (or at least shows the way): the sustainability of human actions must be at the center of the global agenda in the years to come and for an indefinite period. The Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian war and in general some ordinary distractions of the major world powers have diverted government actions in this direction over the past two years. But not public opinion. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the figures recorded by Twitter in its annual “Birdeyes Trend Report”, which analyzes the data regarding the keywords and phrases that are chirped during the year and draws the necessary conclusions therefrom. In this case it is that, confinement or not, and whatever the war, conscious nutrition and all that surrounds it (delivery, personal health, alternative proteins) remains at the top of people’s attention and needs. ordinary. Analytics in collaboration with Talkwalker show how overall, globally, conversations about this industry have increased by 13% over the past year, with an increasing incidence of digital native presence.

In 2021, we have seen respite from the various lockdowns and what seemed like a cautious return to normal, so the analysis has focused carefully on this year. “It immediately became clear that while some trends within the food industry are received more slowly (and sometimes with superficiality or thoughtful deception, read the Green washing controversy), digital conversations about healthy eating (for l people and for the planet) are in fact on the agenda. A sign that mass awareness has shifted and is growing. Comparing the conversations of the past year with those of 2021, it is undeniable that the interactions around the subject are on the rise, so much so that twitter has openly stated that they want to study and want to explore these questions even further in the future, to optimize strategies as well as possible investments in view of the 2022-2023 biennium. Z (i.e. people born between 1996 and 2012) monopolized discussions on the topic by more than 46%, demonstrating “a commitment to improving the way food is purchased, used and recycled”, as stated in the report (downloadable for free here). The explanation for this remarkable boom was given by Elena Melnikova, head of the marketing department of Talkwalker, the company that produced the study: “The pandemic has given consumers first-hand experience of the fragility of everyday life, of where the future of our planet has become a critical point and a strong topic of conversation, leading to the emergence of greater awareness of the need for sustainability brands that will shape the future of the food industry ( beyond green washing, editor’s note) will be those which will show themselves capable of acting on these trends”.


Alternative proteins
Going into the detail of the report, at the top of the food trends on Twitter in 2021 we find many discussions, almost 88% of the total of what has been written on the subject of nutrition, on all that alternatives to proteins can contribute to daily animal-based diets. “With veganism being one of the most popular diets today, plant-based diets have become the most trending type of protein on Twitter – comments Francesco Turco, Talkwalker Marketing Executive in an interview -. Overall, it can be said from the analysis of the tweets that we have carried out that meat alternatives are perceived as healthier by Twitter users”, with more than 80% of the tweets analyzed dedicated to plant-based nutrition. However , that an important space is dedicated to proteins that come from insects, especially in the discussions of the youngest, less rooted in tradition.

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Sustainable takeaways
Cooking meals at home is definitely a growing trend because it’s healthier for our bodies and the planet. However, the pandemic restriction has made ordering food from home a tempting alternative, far from the past, and the conversation about the need for reusable takeout containers and praise for restaurant innovation in this space has gained so much. . space, showing that sustainability is a constant concern. In second place in the ranking of food-themed conversations on Twitter is actually the macro area of ​​packaging and everything around it. Especially those intended for take-out or home delivery, so much so that the keyword “delivery” recorded a 34% growth in the total volume of tweets and retweets. Consumers are increasingly demanding eco-sustainable solutions with biodegradable and sustainable packaging, ever more disposable straws, reusable bags and containers, and food films derived from flour, konjac starch or wax. bee (a product that will also help another environmental problem, that of the too rapid disappearance of bees).

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Intermittent fasting
The third trend highlighted by the “Twitter Birdeyes Report” draws attention to healthy eating habits. The analysis reported that there was a steady increase in conversations about healthy eating in 2021, up 17%. The drivers of the discussions were mainly about different types of diets, from the ketogenic diet to the Mediterranean diet, the paleolithic, veganism and intermittent fasting. The latter was precisely the most cited diet, present in 13.9% of conversations on the topic of healthy eating.

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Healthy eating is one of the hottest topics in the report: tweets on the topic are up more than 17% from 2019

Beware of waste
In general, the attention of Twitter communities is also great for the issue of food waste. Dall’analisi del sentiment fatta dal report, ovvero il tenore dei vari commenti monitorati, emerge come più del 75% delle conversazioni attorno al tema siano di tenore negative e pessimistico, rendendo così necessario “uno sforzo per provare a intercettare queste necessità e risolvere questi problems”.

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Vertical farming
About 7% of the global conversations that took place on Earth Day 2021 were about vertical farming practices as a sustainable solution to overuse of land and the food needs of a number of people that continue to grow. day by day. Technically, a vertical farm is a building that houses an entire agri-food chain: production, processing, sale and consumption. However, in most cases, even buildings that only house production and processing are defined as vertical farms. Recent experiments with start-ups, particularly Italian ones, allow small models to be installed directly inside restaurants. This certainly fits into the broader sector of the food of the future and new solutions to food and environmental problems, which in 2021 grew by 286% and also has a symbolic emoticon, that of the flowering seedling.

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